Consider the different gym users you’ve ever encountered. Practicing flair bartending is comparable to gym use in many ways.
Getting results from your Flair Training
When you practice your flair, do you have specific results that you’re aiming for, or do you just want to get better? Both are perfectly admirable goals, but one will give you far better progress than the other.
When you’re at the gym, there are some people who you could think of as leisure users and others who have clear goals and the gym becomes their life. There are obviously shades of grey here, but the binary split is way easier to work with!
Leisure users of the gym will drift from one machine to the next. Maybe they’ll start off with a little cardio for 10-15 mins, then move on to a few resistance machines, do a few sets on each, take some water, maybe move onto free weights for a while and then a little more cardio to cool down while watching a music video or two on the big screens.
The power users go into the gym with a plan, they’ll focus on a specific muscle group on each visit to allow other muscles recovery time as when they work out, they work out hard. They’ll have researched the advantages of supersets, fast vs slow twitch muscle training and take their portioned out meals with them to work to remove all chance of getting it wrong. They’ll have done way more than this… but I’m not one of them as you’ll know if you’ve seen my videos!
Who do you think is getting the best results from the time they spend in the gym?
So why is it that when you’re ‘training’ for a flair competition, the majority of the time you’ll be squarely in the first category? You’ll grab a bottle and a tin or two in the garden or your bedroom, do some nice comfortable moves that you’ve done a thousand times before and you nail them. You spend 5 minutes trying that move that you came up with a while back, or saw on youtube, maybe hit it a couple of times but miss it more than you nail it. Best move on to something you can do again instead. Sound familiar?
If you’re like me, you’ll have never really structured your training. That is going to change for me.
I personally struggle a lot with multi item moves, but I know I need to address that if I’m going to succeed in The Flair Project. So my training sessions will be structured in future to make sure I force myself to practice these harder disciplines.
Why are we so bad at working on the hard stuff?
I do think that a part of the reason that we’re so unstructured in general is that as humans, we like wins. We like success. Its hard to do something you can’t do over and over again when you keep failing at it, but without this practice and training time, how do we expect it to change?
We don’t have to just constantly punish ourselves of course by attempting what we can’t do for hours, but spending a solid 5 minutes on that one move that’s been eluding you for months, and I mean 5 minutes, set an alarm on your phone and don’t even think about stopping until it goes off, could be enough to tip you over the edge.
Schedule what you avoid
Rather than trying the move 5-6 times (which is the point I personally used to give up and move on) don’t allow yourself to do anything else in that 5 minute window. Attempt, drop, pick up, attempt again. No lead in moves, they’re just wasting your 5 minutes. Just that move or sequence you’ve been struggling with.
You should be able to nail the flair move 10 times in a row – If you can’t, you don’t know it well enough to perform it behind the bar or in competition, so don’t include it in your routine. It may sound like a high bar, but consider how much a drop (especially of multiple items) pulls you out of your flow when you’re flairing.
You’ll benefit more from performing a solid routine that you can hit every move 98% of the time (which may well still have a couple of drops in a 5 min routine) than tossing in a couple of big but 80% moves that become more like 60% moves when combined with the adrenaline and pressure of performance in a competition. I think doubling your chance of missing is pretty realistic in this – so a 98% move becomes 96%, doubling the 2% fail rate. That also means of course that a move you hit 50% of the time in practice, you have no chance of hitting first time in a competition, barring the interference of deities.
Repetition Creates Muscle Memory
Drill your flair moves until they’re second nature. Muscle memory is what we’re looking for here. Your body should be at the point of performing the moves automatically without you concentrating too much, especially in practice. You’ll need to focus in competition to offset the doubled failure rate!
So flair like a body builder if you want gains! Just turning up and going through the motions does not get you progress, you have to know what you’re training to achieve, work your ass off and make sure you’re working on the right stuff to get where you’re going.
Oh, and don’t forget to re-rack your bottles and tins when you’re done. I hate it when people leave equipment everywhere after a workout! #GymEtiquette